Poetry & Rhymes for the Youngest--a list for National Poetry Month
Poems & rhymes to share with the youngest of children--what to read before you bring out the Shel Silverstein.   Print this list Print this list

Contributed by Emily Lloyd
 

Octopus, oyster, hermit crab, snail : a poem of the sea /
Anderson, Sara.
A simple poem and power-packing vocabulary-builder (cerulean, canopy, briny). Great vivid artwork, too.
Easy Picture BookANDERSO
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The genie in the jar /
Giovanni, Nikki.
A whirling, rhythmic poem, great to read aloud, with art by Chris Raschka, my favorite children's illustrator working today. Win!
Easy Fiction PS3557.I55G46 1996
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Flicker flash : poems /
Graham, Joan Bransfield.
Bright concrete poems, a treat for little eyes to follow.
Children's Nonfiction BookPS3557.R213 F55 1999
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My people /
Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967.
A very short Hughes poem accompanied by wonderful photos.
Children's Nonfiction BookPS3515.U274 M9 2009
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Today and today /
Kobayashi, Issa, 1763-1827.
Issa is one of my favorite haiku writers. This is a short selection for kids, with haiku arranged by season. ("So many breezes/wander through my summer room:/but never enough.")
Children's Nonfiction BookPL797.2 .A247 2007
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One leaf rides the wind : counting in a Japanese garden /
Mannis, Celeste Davidson.
Quiet but lovely illustrations accompany 10 haiku, each one including a number from 1-10. "What do flowers dream?/Adrift on eight pond pillows,/pink-cheeked blossoms rest."
Easy Fiction 811.6 M316
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Martin, Bill, 1916-2004
Special love for this illustrated version of a rhyme covered by many for its portrayals of strong & diverse female cops, firefighters, reporters, and more.
Easy Picture BookMARTIN
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To market, to market /
Miranda, Anne.
This ain't your grandma's "To Market, To Market"--a silly, fun twist on the well-known nursery rhyme (especially fun for vegetarian families).
Easy Picture BookMIRANDA
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Big cat, small cat /
Rubinger, Ami
A good one for children learning to rhyme (and learning their opposites)--every other page the "audience" is asked to supply the rhyming opposite: "Big cat, small cat, short cat, ______ cat."
Easy Picture BookRUBINGE
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Chicken soup with rice : a book of months /
Sendak, Maurice.
The ultimate lilting sticks-in-your-head childhood rhyme.
Easy Picture BookSENDAK
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One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish /
Seuss, Dr.
Dr Seuss's rhymes can't be beat. For the youngest children, I stick to his easy readers (like One Fish, Hop On Pop, There's a Wocket in My Pocket, etc) & avoid most of the longer, more complicated picture books.
Easy Fiction SEUSS
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Chicken scratches : Grade A poultry poetry and rooster rhymes /
Shannon, George.
"Neither my kid nor I have any particular love for chickens. Will we really like a whole book of chicken poems?" "Yes, when they're this good, absolutely."
Easy Fiction 811.54 Sh19 2010
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This is a poem that heals fish /
Simeon, Jean-Pierre, 1950-
Arthur asks friends, neighbors, and family members what a poem is, and gets a different definition from each--all in beautiful figurative language ("A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone").
Easy Picture BookSIMEON
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Rhyming dust bunnies /
Thomas, Jan, 1958-
Dust bunny Bob has a tin ear when it comes to rhyme, to the chagrin of the other rhyming dust bunnies. But when they're so caught up in the raptures of rhyming that they don't see a vacuum cleaner coming for them, Bob proves that he has other talents worth admiring. Goofy fun.
Easy Picture BookTHOMAS
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There is a flower at the tip of my nose smelling me /
Walker, Alice, 1944-
I love the idea that the things we experience with our senses also experience us with theirs. Quietly mindblowing.
Children's Nonfiction Book811.54 W151
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